I have a great regard for Dinesh D’Souza. I regularly play his debate with Christopher Hitchens for my ethics class.
Recently selected as the new President of King’s College in NY, most of us evangelicals were surprised because our impression was that Dinesh was a faithful and practicing Roman Catholic. Here is a portion of his response to the inquiry about how a RC can lead an evangelical institution.
“I do not describe myself as Catholic today. But I don’t want to renounce it either because it’s an important part of my background. I’m an American citizen, but I wouldn’t reject the Indian label because it’s part of my heritage,” D’Souza said. “I say I have a Catholic origin or background. I say I’m a nondenominational Christian, and I’m comfortable with born-again.”
Say that again! There is so much confusing about this statement that one would think it is being made by a new convert, not a sophisticated thinker and academic. “Comfortable with born-again”? I don’t even know what that means. Of course, I don’t want someone to lead an evangelical group who is comfortable with being born again. I would want someone who glories in it, loves it, finds sweetness in it, cherishes it and himself gives testimony to being born again.
And, of course, no one is really a nondenominational Christian. It feels good to say the word, but it doesn’t protect the one who says it from having to interpret the bible and decide on issues like infant baptism vs. believers baptism, synergism vs monergism, congregationalism vs. episcopalianism, sacramentalism vs. memorialism, etc. All churches decide these issues whether or not they use the word nondenominational. D’Souza is ducking for cover and it does not bode well for his leadership of King’s College.
But at the same time, it is not easy finding an evangelical leader to lead an evangelical institution who is himself or herself throughly evangelical. Maybe that is why it is easier to find someone who has RC roots. Generally they will be more consistently conservative and find no problem with taking positions on the many things that scandalize evangelicals – abortion, same sex marriage, stem cell research, the supernatural nature of the bible, the rootedness of free market capitalism in the Bible and the limited role of the state, etc.